Travelling around with Maharaja was incredible! Being able to observe what it means to live as a travelling, Krishna conscious guru is something like the process of learning how to cook. All the principles of cooking can be found frozen in time within the writings of a book. But by learning how to cook from a chef, not only do you see those principles being applied in real life, but you also capture insights into some of the subtle details of the science too, especially in dealing with others.
In whatever activity Maharaja performs, he is not only very present in that activity but he is very attentive also – in dealing with people he is present; during kirtan he is present; in addressing devotees and those who have never heard of Krishna consciousness he is present and well-tuned into their needs. I had a running line of glorifications about him following me anywhere he graced! One being, “His explanations are so clear and easy to understand.”
The first being that whenever we are following the leader of a kirtan, we don’t merely follow the melody played, we follow their mood too! That means we try to respond back with a similar volume, with a similar tempo and with as much love for the Supreme Beloved as possible.
During a brief conversation in the car, Maharaja mentioned a point that pleases him. To see in his disciples and well-wishers, he said, “That’s what I like to see, surrender but with intelligence,” and shortly elaborated on it by saying, “Reading is important. Especially when you go out into the world and get confronted with materialistic people then you need to take some transcendental energy with you, which is in Prabhupada’s books.”
What I understood from that – there really is a link between engaging in the reading of Prabhupada’s books (which Maharaja does on a daily basis) and increasing our faith in Krishna more. We want to give our intelligence to Krishna rather than give up our intelligence!
Throughout our stay at New Govardhan farm, which is sort of like a dham outside the dham, Maharaja gave morning (and some evening) Caitanya Caritamrta classes as a way for us all to preview the treasures that lie within the dealings of Mahaprabhu and his followers and to help us realise that practically no person would be here practising Krishna consciousness without the mercy of Mahaprabhu.
On that somewhat punchy note, though HH Kadamba Kanana Swami left for Europe and later he is off to America, he left me with something invaluable – the desire to explore the wonderful lessons threaded throughout the pastimes of Lord Caitanya and His beloved associates, given in Caitanya Caritamrta.